PARIS: New car sales in Europe plunged 24 per cent from a year earlier to a record low in January as the coronavirus pandemic kept the market under pressure, an industry survey showed on Wednesday.

In 2020, marked by strict lockdowns and economic upheaval, car sales in the 27-member European Union slumped by some 3.0 million to under 10m, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

“In January 2021, the EU passenger car market posted an accelerated decline, as Covid-related restrictions continued to weigh heavily on sales across the European Union,” the ACEA said in a statement.

It said 726,491 vehicles were sold in the month, down from 956,447 in January 2020.

Spain was the worst hit, with a fall of 51.5pc, followed by Germany down 31.1pc and Belgium 27.2pc.

France fared comparatively better, with a drop of 5.8pc while Italy was down 14pc.

Sweden managed an increase of 22.5pc.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2021

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